“The best things in life (baseball season) are worth waiting for.” –Pete Alonso
To draft or not to draft? There doesn’t seem to be much reason to draft a fantasy baseball team these days, but there also seems to be absolutely no reason not to. As long as you’re drafting online, it’s certainly a socially-distanced-friendly activity, since you don’t need to be in the same city, state, or even country with your fellow drafters. And is drafting now really any weirder than the drafts I was doing in November and December, knowing that the baseball season was months away? Well, yes, it’s a million times weirder, but like I said, I can’t really think of a reason not to do it. I’m confident that if the baseball-related worst happens and the season is cancelled altogether (wow, I don’t even like typing that), any leagues I’ve paid for will be refunded, and many of us suddenly have quite a bit more time than usual to spare these days, so there’s nothing to lose, right? I have my last scheduled NFBC online draft set for later this week, so I guess I’ll just try to jump in and make the best of it, both for the sake of my current psyche as well as for the future hopes of the team I’ll be drafting. It’s been admittedly difficult for me to keep a positive mindset lately, what with the thing that I usually turn to to make me calm and happy during tough times having been taken away indefinitely. I’m going to try to focus less on the notion that baseball might not be back for a really, really long time, and more on the thought that there’s still a decent chance that the players whose names I’m thinking about, adding to my queue, and rostering on my pretend teams now will be playing real-life major league baseball in a few months. I’m excited enough just at the thought of them playing, period… and if they lead me to a little fantasy baseball success while they’re at it, that will be some scrumptious frosting on an already delicious cake.
The 2020 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!
As I try to figure out how my current drafting differs from what I was doing a few weeks ago (if it does at all), here are a few deep-league type names whose stock I believe rose somewhat during what we thought was just a regular old-fashioned spring training. If you have any fantasy baseball thoughts, comments, commiserations, questions — deep league or otherwise — please throw down a comment… let’s take this advantage of this great forum of folks and the connection we all have to baseball to help us navigate through the coming weeks together!
Roman Quinn. Let’s start with a post-hype prospect type… Quinn is out of options so one would assume he’ll make the Phillies one way or another. While that may still be as an outfielder who is on the short side of a platoon, Quinn did put together a couple of pretty big games over the last week of spring, and one has to wonder if he may have turned enough heads — or at least the head of new manager Joe Girardi — to give them something to think about heading into the extended break in terms of increasing his playing time. I haven’t been able to wrap my head around whether speed — which I’ve already been putting a bigger premium on than ever this year — could be even more valuable in a shortened season, but I do know that there are not an abundance of stolen-base threats available at the end of most NL-only or other deep leagues, and I can’t think of a reason not to take a flier or two on Quinn.
Daniel Hudson. I know spring numbers shouldn’t mean much even in normal times, but Sean Doolittle’s stats sure feel like they might come with some red flags, especially given that he was already sharing the closer’s role with Hudson as the 2019 season came to an end. Doolittle only pitched 3 1/3 innings before the plug was pulled on spring training and had given up 6 runs, and he couldn’t even finish his last appearance, getting pulled with one out after having given up a 3-spot. Maybe just spring rust, maybe his knee is still bothering him a bit but he’ll be at full health once the season finally starts… but maybe there is something else going on here that, should it continue when everyone re-convenes, the Nats won’t feel the need to mess around with given that they already have another arm in the bullpen with a recent track record of success closing games for them.
Rowdy Tellez. Tellez logged a healthy 50 at bats this spring, and looked impressive all the way through, hitting .280 with 5 homers. With Teoscar Hernandez (whom I’ve already drafted as a bench player in a couple of 15-team mixed leagues and don’t mind as a deep-league dart throw) slated to start in the Blue Jays’ outfield, Tellez appears to have a fairly open path to regular at bats DH, at least against righties. I have a strong aversion to anyone who is likely to hurt my batting average with numbers as bad as Tellez’ were last year (he hit .227 in 370 at bats), but maybe his month-long demotion to triple A last summer was a wake-up call of sorts. Most projection systems have Tellez hitting in the high .240s — which certainly isn’t good, but might be palatable for a player that could give you 20-some homers that will basically be free in almost any format.
Jose Peraza. When the Red Sox signed Peraza earlier in the off-season, he felt like a potential utility-guy at best, and more likely a guy who might get DFA’d before the season started. Last year Peraza went from having some legit sleeper appeal to being one of the worst players in real and fantasy baseball, but at his current basically-free price point I might scoop him up at the end of a 15-teamer. Peraza is, after all, only one year removed from having a season where he was basically a 5-category contributor, and the dual-position eligibility (2B/OF) never hurts. I’ve been assuming that Michael Chavis would handily beat out Peraza for everyday playing time, and he still might, but at this point I wouldn’t be shocked if Peraza’s perceived defensive value ends up giving him more of an edge than any of us expected when it comes to playing time in 2020.